Saturday, September 11, 2021

Review of Thriving with Stone Age Minds

Thriving with Stone Age Minds: Evolutionary Psychology, Christian Faith, and the Quest for Human Flourishing Thriving with Stone Age Minds: Evolutionary Psychology, Christian Faith, and the Quest for Human Flourishing by Justin L. Barrett and Pamela Ebstyne King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was really excited when I first learned about this book before it was even published. Justin Barrett's focus is on cognitive and evolutionary psychologist and Pam Ebstyne King's is on developmental and positive psychology. I have relied heavily on their work for my own education in psychology and ministry work so I was excited to see how they integrated psychology and theology at a popular level.

Overall, the book was great. I think it will be an excellent introduction to evolutionary psychology for Christians who might be skeptical of the field. While the authors do hold the view that humans and other animals are the product of evolution, that is not a necessary belief for accepting the conclusions of this book or evolutionary psychology. All the conclusions are the same if it's assumed that God specially created humans the way we are now.

In the book, the authors argue that what makes humans different from other animals is our social ability, ability to attain and use information, and our ability to exhibit self-control. Based on these traits (evolved or designed), we can make scientific predictions about what leads to human flourishing and these predictions align with what the Bible teaches about flourishing. The alignment of science and Christianity theology on this topic is a useful apologetic tool that isn't often discussed in other apologetics sources.

I went back and forth on whether to give this book 4 or 5 stars (fractions aren't possible on this platform) because I couldn't decide if my criticisms were fair based on my familiarity with the subject. The main problem I had with this book is that it is written for a broad audience. For most people, this is probably a positive thing, but I have a bit more experience in the field of psychology so I didn't learn a lot from this book.

The only other critique I have of this book is that it is too short. This relates to the depth I already talked about, but in addition to that, I think they could have explained some interesting research studies or used more stories to give practical examples of the points they were making. To be fair, they did do these things, and did them pretty well, but I think it would have made the book even more engaging if they did it more like other psychology books do (Gladwell, Cialdini, Pinker, and other psychologists).

Ultimately, the book was enjoyable to listen to, accessible, and will be informative for most people. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in theology, psychology, or human flourishing, even most psychologists because the way the authors integrate faith with science might be useful Christian psychologists who haven't thought about this integration much.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting. All comments are appreciated and only those that resort to name calling will not be approved.